Friday, August 22, 2014

Zombie Sharks

It seems like no matter where you turn today, zombies are there.  Even Discovery has used them for their Shark Week programming.  Not that I'm complaining, I love zombies, it's just something I've noticed.

I also really enjoy Shark Week.  I've been watching it for as long as I can remember.  I'm not really of fan of the mockumentary that gets thrown in, but the real scientific shows that they highlight are amazing.  One of these happened to be Zombie Sharks.  The focus of this show was that great white sharks were turning up dead with HUGE chunks taken out of them, as if something had killed and eaten them.  A scientist wanted to find out what animal it could possibly be and how it was taking down such large sharks.

The basis of his research was that when sharks are turned upside down, they go into a type of trance.  Which can be seen in this clip.  They are completely vulnerable in this state--unable to move and unable to defend themselves.  In essence, they become zombies.  This allows other predators to attack and kill.

His goal was to figure out if it was possible for large sharks to be put into this trance, so he headed out to the ocean and tickled sharks on the nose so he could flip them over.  I'm not kidding.  He actually tickled them on the nose to overstimulate them, then flipped them over.  It was pretty dang cool.  His ultimate goal was to see if a great white could be put into this trance.

From what I could tell on the show, I didn't think he was successful.  According to him, the larger the shark, the harder it is to flip over.  Which makes sense.  A great white is also pretty aggressive, and most of them weren't exactly happy about being tickled on the nose.  Getting past the sharp teeth to the nose was often a challenge.  Still, there were dead sharks turning up, so something was being successful.

Turns out it's orcas or killer whales that have developed this strategy for killing sharks.  It's absolutely amazing.  It just goes to show you that with a little ingenuity and a whole lot or survival instinct, anyone or anything can defeat a zombie.

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